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6 Nov 2002 : Column 443Wcontinued
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 21 October 2002, Official Report, column 128W, on social workers, if he will provide the provisional recruitment and departure figures referred to. 
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many NHS staff are armed services reservists; and what (a) assessment he has made of the impact of call up connected to the war on terrorism on NHS services and (b) adjustments will be made to current year targets in the NHS. 
Mr. Hutton: The Department does not hold information centrally on the number of National Health Service staff who are armed service reservists. The Department reviews constantly its readiness to deal with demand on NHS services of this nature. The Department does not plan to make any adjustments to current year targets in the NHS.
Mr. Hutton: Information on the average cost of a wide range of treatments and procedures carried out in the National Health Service is included in the national schedule of reference costs. Reference costs for 20012002 were published on 1 November. They may be found at www.doh.gov.uk/nhsexec/refcosts.htm and a copy has been placed in the Library. The Department does not collect information on the average cost of operations carried out in private hospitals.
Ms Blears: Figures on the average daily number of available and occupied beds for each National Health Service trust are published annually on the Department's website at http://www.doh.gov.uk/hospitalactivity. Data is not available on a monthly basis.
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Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether local authorities will be given further provision to their social services budgets relating to asylum seekers' residential accommodation following the ruling on Westminster City Council v. National Asylum Support Service on 17th October. 
The Law Lords judgment on the Westminster City Council v. National Asylum Support Service appeal of 17 October 2002 upholds the decision of the Court of Appeal given on 10 April 2001. There are no plans to provide local councils with additional funding as a result of the judgement.
Jacqui Smith: Lifeline alarm systems are not normally purchased or provided by the National Health Service and no assessment has been made of the cost of doing so. ''Lifelines'' are 24-hour alarm services usually triggered by a call button in the room or worn around the neck. The equipment that supports them is frequently installed in residential or sheltered housing provided by local councils or registered social landlords. Depending on local eligibility criteria some landlords make a charge to residents to cover the ongoing cost of the equipment and specialist call centre.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many applications for care homes staff have been (a) received and (b) processed by the National Care Standards Commission in each month since April. 
Jacqui Smith: The National Care Standards Commission exists to regulate and inspect social care and independent health care services. It has strong powers of enforcement to ensure that services meet the required standards. The Commission does not receive applications from care home staff.
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Mr. Hutton: We are committed to enabling refugee dentists to access the training opportunities they need to succeed in the National Health Service. Over the last two years #1 million has been made available to various projects designed to help refugee health professionals, including dentists, prepare for work in the NHS, by providing English language and clinical skills training, along with guidance on gaining employment in the NHS.
Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1), how many people are waiting to sit each part of the international qualifying exams to practise dentistry in the UK; and if he will make a statement; 
The GDC recognises certain overseas dental qualifications as being eligible for registration. Dentists qualifying in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Maltaonly up to 1978, New Zealand, Singapore and at most South African dental schools before 1 January 2001 are eligible for registration with the GDC. Dentists qualifying in other countries or in any other non-EEA country after 1 January 2001 are required to take the GDC international qualifying examination or Bachelor of Dental Surgery before becoming eligible for registration.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the Government's policy is on the training of medical undergraduates in prescribing practices for antibiotics; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Hutton: Individual university medical schools determine their own undergraduate medical curriculum in the light of recommendations from the General Medical Council's education committee, which has the statutory responsibility to determine the extent and knowledge and skill required for the granting of primary medical qualifications in the United Kingdom.
The education committee's most recent recommendations on undergraduate medical education are contained in Tomorrow's Doctors which was published in July 2002. It states that graduates must know about and understand the effective and safe use of medicines as a basis for prescribing. This includes side effects, harmful interactions, antibiotic resistance and genetic indicators of the appropriateness of drugs.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 22 October 2002, Official Report, column 259W, on microbiologists, what information his Department collates on the number of microbiologists working in the NHS. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 31 October 2002]: Healthcare scientists and doctors work as microbiologists within the National Health Service. The Department's workforce censuses collect detailed information to specialty level for the medical workforce but do not record the number of healthcare scientists working as microbiologists.
As at September 2001 there were 570 doctors (400 consultants) working in the medical microbiology and virology specialty, increases of 60 and 40 respectively on the numbers employed in 1997. The information currently collected by the Department does not differentiate between microbiologists and virologists.
The Department's vacancy survey collected information on the medical microbiology and virology specialty for the first time this year. Nationally as at 30 March 2002 there were ten consultant vacancies in this specialty.
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